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Marcel Kittel has officially retired from professional cycling

Marcel Kittel smile
Joe Robinson
23 Aug 2019

The German sprinter ends career having 'lost all motivation to keep torturing myself on a bike'

German sprinter Marcel Kittel has announced his retirement for professional cycling having 'lost all motivation to keep torturing myself on a bike'. The 31-year-old broke contract with Katusha-Alpecin in May under mutual agreement stating at the time he had 'decided to take a break and take time for myself, think about my goals and make a plan for my future.'

The 14-time Tour de France stage winner had struggled for 18 months to find form managing only three victories. It was also reported that Kittel had fallen out of favour with team management.

Rumours had circulated that Kittel was considering a return to cycling with Dutch team Jumbo-Visma stating they would consider a move for the rider if he managed to get back into shape.

However, Kittel has now announced his immediate retirement from the sport in an interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel.

In the conversation, Kittel spoke of his conflict with the Katusha-Alpecin team and how he only felt pressure and a lack of trust when racing. He also cited the time away from home as reason for his retirement, too.

'The sport and the world you live in are defined by pain,' Kittel said. 'You don't have time for family and friends, and then there's the perpetual tiredness and routine. As a cyclist, you are on the road for 200 days of the year. I didn't want to watch my son grow up via Skype.'

Kittel ends his professional cycling career having been an era-defining sprinter who was truly unbeatable at the peak of his powers.

Riding for Giant-Shimano, Etixx-QuickStep and Katusha-Alpecin during his career, Kittel took 14 Tour stages and four Giro d'Italia wins alongside stints in the leader's jersey at both races.

Kittel was also a five-time Scheldeprijs winner in a career dominated by rivalries with Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel.